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Reviewed by Mary T. Kincaid for Readers' Favorite
Outrageous: The Victoria Woodhull Saga, Volume One by Neal Katz introduces us to Victoria Claflin Woodhull and her sister, Tennessee Celeste Claflin, in their childhood. These women rose from abuse and extreme poverty. The sisters consulted spirit guides. Their father worked them as mediums and whores. They were involved in many struggles as they bettered themselves. The Claflins became madams, and introduced hygiene to their companions and other whore-houses. As their fortunes changed, they became friends with the rich and powerful. They kept ledgers of their clients, and set up an information gathering system. Eventually, they became confidantes of Cornelius Vanderbilt. By the book’s end, they owned a seat on the stock exchange.
I’m a fan of histories. The flowing prose makes this one easy to read. The characters are well defined, the backgrounds are vivid, and the period is well depicted. I was the beneficiary of many hours of research that went into the building of this world. Neal Katz’ prose style caught me in its web and didn't release me from start to finish. It is very easy to drift into a mere retelling of the facts of a person's existence and hard to make the facts interesting for the reader. I look forward to the next volume and the continuing saga.